Excerpt taken from Red Star's field journal:
December 20th, Day 100. 27 degrees Fahrenheit.
Midwestern squirrels, who – I've decided, are all named Buddy and Loretta, are a completely different breed than their coastal, chain smoking city equivalents If you've visited NYC or SFO then you know the type: skinny, paranoid, self-destructive… In many ways, it is apparent that the fallout resulting from great National Pigeon Uprising of 2010, has left a lingering mark on the local Sciurini tribes... (shudder)
At any rate, the Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), or as they are more commonly known: the Grey Squirrel, look as though they’ve spent some time in the gym doing Pilate's or perhaps, spinning. Every morning, just after sun-up, they congregate atop the dumpster in the alley behind our apartment, drinking coffee, joking and "talking smack" about the neighbors as they peruse electrical schematics of the city…
To be sure, they’ve unionized.
Sometimes, as I’m hiding in the bushes, I see them running wire up to the power lines or coaxial cable along the ground to certain trees or even siphoning gas from nearby SUVs. As much as I’d like to, I dare not approach them.
Last week, (Day 96) soon after I got settled into my usual observation point, I watched – rather stupefied, as a local boy, wrapped comically in a red and grey argyle scarf, burst out of seemingly nowhere and – armed to the teeth with tightly packed snowballs, proceeded to launch an obviously well planned (if not completely unprovoked) ground-to-air-strike against the squirrel community during one of their morning meetings when sadly, they are at their most vulnerable.
With grim fascination, I looked on in horror as Buddy – who had just opened his thermos for what was to be his first cup of coffee for the day, took two slushballs to the chest and one to the head. Loretta, with no regard for her own safety, ran to him, crushing his limp body to her snow-splattered bosom, screaming; “SQUEAK SQUEAKER SQUEAK SQUEAK!” again and again; “SQUEAK SQUEAKER SQUEAK SQUEAK!!” as a barrage of snow and ice exploded around her.
The rest of the squirrels – unsure of what had just happened, ran for cover as the local kid, obviously tweaked out on sugarplums and Redbull, ducked down another alley where he immediately vanished behind what was later determined to be a disemboweled, late model Ford.
Now, days later, just as Loretta finishes scattering Buddy’s ashes at the foot of the dumpster, a large, balding squirrel – Buddy, approaches and hands her a neatly folded red and grey argyle scarf.
Perhaps justice was served and perhaps it wasn't. I do not judge, only observe. For me, day 96 shall forever be the day I witnessed my first run-by snowballing and while I hope it's my last, I can see now that this is the beginning of something much, much larger...